After a thrilling series sweep in St. Louis, the Los Angeles Angels came home with a ton of momentum, and a lot to prove. They were playing their biggest series in what felt like a long time against a division rival. The goal was simple. Win the series, and you're in first place. Facing a Rangers team at home with no Jacob deGrom and no Corey Seager felt like the time for the Angels to show the world they could accomplish that goal. Unfortunately, they fell flat and lost the series.
Had it not been for that remarkable comeback in the opener of this series, the Angels would've gotten swept. I love the fight the team showed at the end of that game to steal it, but the Rangers felt like the better team for a large majority of the series.
Losing two of three isn't the end of the world. The Angels are 19-16 right now and are two games back of Texas for first in the West. They have Houston coming to town and have a chance to right the wrong by winning that series. It's still frustrating that the Angels simply did not play well this weekend against the Rangers. Three players in particular I feel are to blame for that.
1) LA Angels player to blame for series loss: Jose Suarez
You all knew this was coming. After he showed such positive signs pitching really well his last time out in Milwaukee, Jose Suarez turned back into, well, Jose Suarez. The Angels left-hander was handed the ball with a chance to win a big series at home against an AL West opponent. Unfortunately, Suarez reminded us all why Angels fans were calling for him to be removed from the rotation, if not DFA'd entirely.
Suarez knew the Angels had virtually no bullpen available. Chase Silseth was available, but the Angels want to use him in short spurts, not as a long reliever. The only other options were Chris Devenski, Carlos Estevez, and Matt Moore, guys they want to use in high-leverage moments. With that in mind, it would've been nice for Suarez to give length, even if it wasn't the most quality length.
Unfortunately, Suarez only lasted 2.2 innings and was not good whatsoever. After getting out of a jam in the first, Anthony Rendon handed him a 3-0 lead with his first home run of the season. Suarez would wind up giving those three runs right back before the Angels could even get up to bat again.
After Martin Perez threw a scoreless second for Texas, Suarez walks the leadoff man, which is never good. After retiring the next two batters, Suarez allows back-to-back singles and a three-run homer. The man who hit the three-run homer, Josh H. Smith, is a career .189 hitter and had three home runs in 262 at-bats entering yesterday's game. To give up that home run to that guy is... crushing.
The Angels made things interesting and their offense showed up, but Suarez's ineffectiveness and inability to give the Angels any sort of length forced them to have Chase Silseth throw 72 pitches and Chris Devenski to throw 37. Devenski won't be available tomorrow and Silseth might not be available for the entire Houston series because of this.
You know it's bad when Jake Lamb looks better than you on the mound. Suarez left the game with a trainer after the Smith home run. Hopefully he's okay, but this could be another one of those conveniently timed IL stints to get a guy off the roster who doesn't deserve to be here. I would be shocked if Suarez made his next scheduled start, which isn't even for a while as the Angels can use a five-man rotation for a little while.